Friday, 4 June 2010



What is this?

No time to say much but first, a little game. If you can identify the picture, there'll be a prize of some sort - possibly an electronically blown kiss of congratulation, or maybe an eOrchid.

Now, then. What ho and howdedo??!!!

I knew we were in the tropics when a ruddy great clap of thunder jerked my jet-lagged body into rigid and terrified wakefulness just before dawn. It had taken from 10pm until an hour before, to get to sleep, so I began the day in a state of exhausted apprehension!

Talk about hot! You need five changes of underwear, here, daily and whenever you sit outside, you keep wishing someone would open a huge window somewhere, and let in some fresh air.

Our wonderful hosts - and there are hosts of them - will shortly be here to take us off to visit the Gardens By The Bay. We've already done some preliminary judging of shortlisted community gardens and spent a fascinating - and delightfully recuperative - day working through the Singapore Botanic Garden (details here) with curator, Dr Chin See Chung.

A few comments:

1. Anyone who needs lessons in how to be really hospitable to visitors should visit Singapore.

2. I have a notion that the inhabitants of this city have a different metabolism from us cold-blooded Brits. I've never seen such constant, dedicated, committed eating. The food here is out of this world, and everyone seems to be tucking in almost constantly, yet relatively few people appear to be heavy. When one sees a sagging belly, I mean other than when trying to avoid looking at the bathroom mirror of a morning, the sound that accompanies will usually have Anglo-saxon connections.

3. You really can create a garden in a city, even one with almost 5,000,000 souls crammed into a small, equatorial island. More on that later.

4. There are insects in the rainforest which can cover you with bites and yet which are totally, one hundred percent invisible. I spent moments under a dipterocarp tree can was instantly covered with itchy blobs.

The view from our hotel window. Not the most impressive until you realise that this is the heart of a city with 5 million souls and yet which, in places, feels greener than my rural home. And don't you just adore tropical skies?

I'm listening to the PG, agitating for us to go down to breakfast. She's obviously caught SES (Singapore Eating Syndrome.)

More soon - bye bye!


  1. I spent a day in Singapore whilst in transit back to the UK from Oz. If you need to wait several hours for your connection you can get a tour for free. It included a trip to the Botanic Gardens, lots of temples, a market and a slap up meal.

    It was a magnificent yet bizarre experience because technically I wasn't there at all because you don't go through customs to go on the tour.

    The humidity meant I felt like I was engulfed in a wet flannel the whole time I was there.

    Have no idea re picture, so sadly can't claim my e-kiss :(

  2. It sounds great!

    I've stopped at Singapore airport, and really wished I could have visited the botanic garden.

    The picture is a rambutan. I opt for the eOrchid...

  3. Another one stopped at Singapore although we did actually spend two nights and did both the obligatory tour (temples and orchids) with bossy guide and then a longer stint at the fantastic Botanic Gardens on our own. It was December and so weird to see the entire place covered in Christmas decorations (snow storms in the mall!) and yet it was so hot and humid. We got caught in one of those thunderstorms, lost and unable to get a taxi, ruined my only pair of elegant heeled sandals.

    If Rob doesn't want the e-kiss I'll have it!

  4. Are rambutans lychees with depilation difficulties?!

  5. I visited Singapore many moons ago on transit. I remember how green it was and how it rained every day for a short period of time - very heavy and very warm rain but it cleared the humidity for a while. We also went on a trip to one of the islands where the British signed Singapore over to the Japanese and then came back on a frightening cable car. I have heard that Singapore prides itself on being a garden city

  6. Love the Chihuly idea. The picture is a rambutan. More on this when I can get properly on line again.

    PatientG - Singapore has every justification in calling itself a garden city. More will be revealed in later posts.

    NewShoot - if you shaved a rambutan, you'd get a snedded rambutan - see back posts - but the texture of the flesh is not unlike a lychee.

    Arabella - mainly for you, and coming up in a post soon, gory details of our Baba and Nyonya experiences. Wow! Fusion extremes!!! Yum yum yumeronies!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Hello,

    The picture - my knee jerk guess was Dragon Fruit but I don t think it is really, ... I think the rambutan is probably the real answer, I may even have tried one... looks V familiar. Anyway, does nt matter if its carpet fluff, it s a really beautiful photograph. well done1 I love the contrasts in the hotel window view. Full marks there for great composition and mahvlus sky. More please.

  8. I'd have suggested a lychee - pity the ekiss is already gone :-)) - from a dedicated but lurching inthe background reader.

    Helen i.e. Helle